Actor Priyanka Chopra and filmmaker Anurag Kashyap are among the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) ambassadors for 2020.
Chopra and Kashyap will be in the grand company of Ava DuVernay, Taika Waititi, Nicole Kidman, Martin Scorsese, Nadine Labaki, Alfonso Cuarón, Tantoo Cardinal, Riz Ahmed, Rian Johnson, Jason Reitman, Isabelle Huppert, Claire Denis, Atom Egoyan, Viggo Mortensen, Zhang Ziyi, David Oyelowo, Lulu Wang, Rosamund Pike, Sarah Gadon, and Denis Villeneuve, among others.
According to a press communique released on Wednesday the 45th edition of TIFF will take place from September 10-19, and will be “tailored to fit the moment”, with physical screenings and drive-ins, digital screenings, virtual red carpets, press conferences and industry talks.
This year’s selection comprises a lineup of 50 new feature films, five programmes of short films, as well as interactive talks, film cast reunions, and Q&As with cast and filmmakers. The significant titles to screen at this year’s festival include Ammonite, directed by Francis Lee (United Kingdom); Another Round, from director Thomas Vinterberg (Denmark); Bruised, the debut film from director Halle Berry (USA); Concrete Cowboy by filmmaker Ricky Staub (USA); Fauna, from director Nicolás Pereda (Mexico/Canada); Good Joe Bell by director Reinaldo Marcus Green (USA); Spring Blossom, the debut film by director Suzanne Lindon (France) and True Mothers by director Naomi Kawase (Japan).
TIFF is one of the largest publicly attended film festivals in the world and has gathered a reputation for generating “Oscar buzz” for its pick of films. This year, over the first five days, TIFF’s full slate of films will premiere as physical, socially-distanced screenings. Festival-goers would also be able to enjoy drive-ins and outdoor experiences that take them beyond the movie theatre.
According to the communique, TIFF is working closely with the Province of Ontario, the City of Toronto, and public health officials on the safe execution of the festival, with its number one priority being the health and well-being of both festival filmgoers and the residents of the entire community. This presentation of TIFF’s traditional in-person ﬁlm festival will be contingent on the province’s reopening framework to ensure that festival venues and workplaces practice, meet and exceed public health guidelines.
For the first time in its history, TIFF will launch a digital platform for the festival, affording new opportunities to connect with audiences beyond Toronto. TIFF has partnered with Shift72 to develop this industry-leading online platform. Over the 10 days, the platform will host digital screenings, as well as numerous talks and special events.
“The pandemic has hit TIFF hard, but we’ve responded by going back to our original inspiration – to bring the very best in film to the broadest possible audience,” said Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director and Co-Head, TIFF. “Our teams have had to rethink everything, and open our minds to new ideas. In countless video calls over the past three months we have rebuilt our festival for 2020 drawing on our five decades of commitment to strong curation, support for filmmakers and engagement with audiences. We have listened to this year’s urgent calls for greater representation of under-represented voices. You’ll see that this year at the festival.
“And we have watched as audiences have embraced cinema’s ability to transport them through screens of all sizes. You’ll see that too. We’re excited to present thoughtful, high-impact programming this September that reflects our belief that there’s no stopping great storytelling.”
“TIFF has a proud history of programming award-winning films, expanding the conversation to include a multitude of voices, and in creating boundary-pushing initiatives for the industry. And this year we’ve added new innovations and ways to give back to the community. In doing so, we’re aiming to advance what a film festival is capable of delivering – for audiences and the film industry,” said Joana Vicente, Executive Director and Co-Head, TIFF.
“We could never have anticipated the global seismic changes we would be facing in 2020. We tapped into the original spirit of the festival from when it began in 1976 as our guiding light. The distilled edition of TIFF 2020 reflects a deep love of film, passion for our loyal audiences, commitment to the industry and a whole lot of heart.”
Even as TIFF announced its lineup it confirmed earlier this week the reduction of 31 full-time staff positions as a response to the financial impact brought on by COVID-19 and the temporary closure of its building.